India continues to attract overseas retailers

Gelatissimo is expanding its international franchise operations into two new markets, with five new stores to open in Bangladesh and India over the next year.

The announcement follows the privately-owned company’s previous expansion into South East Asia and the Middle East and brings the total number of outlets to 66, with 45 stores in Australia and 17 stores overseas.

“The stores will be fitted in the internationally recognisable Gelatissimo branding and serve the brand’s best loved flavours and products,” Gelatissimo master franchisee from India, Sangeeta Dumpeta, said.

Bangladesh’s Nilesh Jamnadas added that the stores will serve new flavours, adapted to local tastes, such as kulfi, mango lassi and kesariya badam.

Gelatissimo’s move into India and Bangladesh, with a combined population of over 1.5 billion people, will see the franchise gain access to a sizeable and growing middle and upper class, a key demographic for the dessert company.

“The premium dessert category is still in its infancy in these countries, and being one of the first to the market will set the brand up well for future success,” Gelatissimo CEO Filipe Barbosa said.

Barbosa noted that emerging countries like India and Bangladesh are hungry for successful Western concepts, and being first to market gives Gelatissimo a considerable advantage to establish its brand.

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Eased regulations create a welcoming market

The gelato franchise is the latest retailer to set up shop on the subcontinent after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed the need for federal approval of foreign single-brand retailers entering the market earlier this year.

Modi also relaxed a rule that requires businesses to locally source at least 30 per cent of their products. Companies now have five years to reach the threshold, creating a smoother transition for businesses entering the market for the first time.

Several foreign retailers have entered the market since the legislative changes, including most recently Ikea, which opened its first store in Hyderabad two weeks ago.

To handle the on average 28,000 people who are visiting the store each day, Ikea India has installed a live ticker on its website, so customers can gauge wait times, which have reached at least three hours.

Walmart has also entered India recently through its purchase of a 77 per cent stake in the local online marketplace Flipkart. The US retailer spent US$21.45 billion to outbid e-commerce giant Amazon, which was reportedly also in the running to purchase the business.

“India is one of the most attractive retail markets in the world, given its size and growth rate, and our investment is an opportunity to partner with the company that is leading transformation of e-commerce in the market,” Walmart’s president and chief executive Dough McMillion said at the time of acquisition.

And locally, Retail Food Group’s (RFG) Pizza Capers brand entered the Indian market last year, after being granted a master franchise license in favour of local firm Krsna Foods (India) Pvt Limited.

RFG international chief executive Mike Gilbert said a surge in consumerism, coupled with increasing incomes and changes to lifestyle and eating patterns, has created a huge platform for businesses.  

Gelatissimo is also looking to continue to grow its Australian business, with plans for additional franchises across all six states, as well as further international plans to expand into the US.

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